Lindale 5th grade class modifies play due to religious conflict
POSTED: Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 6:04pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 24, 2013 - 3:55pm
Lindale, Tx (KETK) — A 5th grade class in Lindale has to modify their annual school play due to religious conflict.
A concerned parent called the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" and complained about some religious songs and speeches in the play.
Three days before the play, the Lindale Independent School District received a letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religious Foundation based out of Wisconsin.
The play, "In God We Trust," is about the foundation of the United States and how religion played a part.
The letter stated the performance was unconstitutional and the school should remove "illegal parts and objective material."
The play features many references to the word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"After reviewing the script and songs in the play and seeking legal council from our school attorney we made some modifications to the play and some speaking parts," said Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt.
Surratt says the program was not in compliance with state and federal curriculum guidelines in regards to religious expression.
"To be respectful to all families and their values and opinions and religious freedoms, we thought adjustments needed to be made," said Surratt.
KETK spoke with the FFRF.
FFRF Staff Attorney Elizabeth Cavell says the program is a violation of the First Amendment.
Cavell says some of the songs and a majority of the speeches are straight proclamations of the Christian Gospel.
She says it is illegal for a public school to make students to participate in religious expression.
"In what ways is Jesus Christ dying on the cross and sacrificed his life so we can have eternal life from God, related to American History. It doesn't. It's indoctrination so it's not appropriate for public schools," said Cavell.